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May 12, 2011 Issue

Praying for us all
Louisville gets $1.2 million for water system
Facility opens

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Praying for us all

The National Day of Prayer was observed in Wrens, Louisville and cities throughout the country last Thursday, May 5. Prayers were offered for government agencies on the local, state and national levels.









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Louisville gets $1.2 million for water system

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

The city of Louisville will receive more than $1.2 million in grant and loan funds for the water system, as well as the pumping station, which City Administrator Don Rhodes said has not been worked on in about 30 years.

“We’ve really got to do some work on the water system,” Rhodes said. “That is one reason we applied.”

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The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority Board of Directors awarded the city of Louisville exactly $1,271,000 from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to finance a new well, replace two transfer pumps and three service pumps and modify the filter system and piping.

“The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund assists local governments with their efforts to provide safe drinking water,” GEFA Executive Director Kevin Clark said. “In addition to the public’s health and safety, these projects are critical to a community’s ability to prosper economically.”

The city plans to drill a new well to replace one that was taken off line almost a year ago after it continued to suffer problems.

“We found it would be a whole lot cheaper to drill a new one than to repair the old one,” Rhodes said, adding. “It did not cause problems with the water system. Engineers put a camera in the well to determine the amount of damage over a period of years, and the engineers said replacing it was most feasible.”

The new well will be placed in the same vicinity as the old one. Rhodes said it had been at least 15 years since the city has had to drill a new well.

“We hope to get started on the well once we have all the paper work finished and the loans and grant money,” he said. “I would say we will start within 60 days. We would certainly like to get this well online.”

Rhodes said that currently unless the city ran into an emergency, the offline well does not strain the water system.

“We’ve got five wells that we normally use and have a back up well,” he explained. “Right now we have four wells and a back up well.”

The money will also rewire all electrical aspects inside the pump station, as well as new pump motors being installed that are more energy efficient.

“We might realize some savings with the new energy efficient pumps, because we have to pump uphill,” Rhodes said.

Funds will also be used to recoat one of the above ground water tanks.

“It’s going to ensure we will have good water for now and in the future,” Rhodes said, adding that the water is checked everyday. “This will actually give us the reserve capacity and pumping capacity to continue to have water available.”

The city will pay back $721,000 to GEFA over a 20 year period at a 0 percent interest rate. Rhodes noted that usually the city has to borrow money at a 3 percent interest rate. The other $500,000 in funds is a grant that the city will not have to pay back.

“You have to look at these things over a long period of time, and you don’t usually budget for something like this,” Rhodes said of the needed improvements. “This is in the city’s favor. A 0 percent interest is almost unheard of. We have not money set aside for something like this.

“It meant a lot for us to get this loan because the payments will be a lot less than we anticipated. We always try to get grant money and we are very fortunate to get this.”

Rhodes said part of the agreement for the loan will begin to increase water rates for the city in 2013 at 9 percent the first, second and third year in order to have funds to continue servicing the system.

“We actually figured it was going to take more than this if we borrowed the money with interest,” Rhodes explained.

He said the 9 percent increase will equal to $1.08 more for customers each year it increases.

“We have low water rates to begin with,” Rhodes admitted. “This is work that needs to be done to maintain our system and to have a system that can supply the needs of our people.”




Facility opens

By Bonnie Sargent
Apprentice

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Jefferson County Recreation Center in Louisville was held Thursday, April 28, at 10:30 a.m.

Before the ribbon-cutting, a ceremony was held in the facility’s new gymnasium. Jefferson County Board of Commissioners Chairman William Rabun said words of welcome, then invited Rev. Hardy Owens of First Baptist Church in Louisville to say a prayer.

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After the prayer, Rabun said there were a few people he wanted to thank whom he invited to speak, including Louisville Mayor Larry Morgan, the Louisville city council, John Barrow’s Congressional Staff, members of the Department of Community Affairs, the CSRA Regional Commission, Carter Watkins Associates, J. W. Spartlin & Son, LLC and the recreation staff and board.

Also mentioned were Jefferson Hospital and Coca-Cola Bottling Company, who split the cost of the center’s scoreboard. Special thanks were also given to the Jefferson County Correctional Institute, Robert Yonchak, the Jefferson County Road Department, Jefferson County Extension Agent Jim Crawford, Vincent Cannida of Vincent’s Cleaning Service, Rollin Giesbrecht of Rollin’s Landscape Company, Inc. and Joe Foss.

Construction of the recreation department’s new facility began on May 1, 2010, and was completed on April 5 of this year. Administrative Director Julie Nevils said the public was able to begin using the new facility on Nov. 10, 2010 with a temporary certificate of occupancy. On Jan. 8, the recreation department received their permanent certificate of occupancy.

Funding for the facility came from a Community Development Block Grant the city acquired that totaled $500,000. Nevils said they were required to match a percentage of the cost, which totaled $10,000. She said SPLOST funds covered the remaining balance, the total of which was $1,450,000.

The department’s new facility consists of a basketball court, offices, locker rooms with showers, a concession area, two multi-purpose rooms and an equipment room.

Nevils said during the basketball season, the recreation department’s 11-12 year old team won first place in the state competition and the 13-14 year olds won second in state. The recreation department also has nine baseball teams, five softball teams and four T-ball teams.

“We are looking forward to expanding our entire recreation program with this new facility being the anchor,” said Nevils.




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